Mexican cuisine is among the most popular worldwide, inspiring hundreds of restaurants and food chains. You might even be planning a Mexican-themed meal right at this moment!
If you are, you can’t go without the best authentic Mexican desserts. They’re the best way to wrap up a Mexican meal and make you feel transported into an abuela’s dining room.
If you don’t have an abuela to pass down their favorite Mexican desserts to you, don’t worry. I’m here to transform your kitchen into a Mexican cuisine paradise with the most delicious Mexican dessert recipes.
1. Tres Leches Cake
We have to start our list with the quintessential Mexican dessert: the tres leches cake. It is the epitome of a moist, creamy sponge cake and a staple of every Mexican celebration and panaderia display.
The name directly translates into “three milk cake.” It’s a type of poke cake made of evaporated milk, whole milk, and sweetened condensed milk – hence, three milk types.
But even with all those added, tres leches isn’t soggy. It’s perfectly moist, unbelievably light, and tastes heavenly with a whipped cream layer. It’s especially perfect when topped with fresh strawberries.
2. Mexican Fried Ice Cream
I know it sounds bizarre, but fried ice cream is a thing, and it’s absolutely delicious. There’s no meal at a resto without a round of this beloved dessert.
Frying ice cream sounds intimidating, and it is – it takes time to master the skills and technique. It can also be messy at first; thus, I’ve included a no-fry Mexican ice cream recipe for your first try.
Instead, you’ll roll a frozen scoop of vanilla ice cream (or any flavor) in a cinnamon sugar mixture and toasted cornflakes. The flavors and textures are reminiscent of Mexican fried ice cream, minus the mess.
3. Mexican Rice Pudding/Arroz con Leche
Have you ever had rice pudding? Well, it’s time you should because there’s no complete traditional Mexican dessert experience without Arroz con Leche or Mexican rice pudding.
It’s humble, comforting, and versatile, as you can eat it hot or cold. It’s made with six ingredients only, most of which you are likely to have: milk, sugar, long-grain rice, cinnamon sticks, salt, and water.
You can put your twist on this sweet porridge by adding condensed milk, evaporated milk, raisins, coconut, rum, and more. If you made too much, you could refrigerate and reheat using a stove or microwave.
4. Mexican Chocolate Cake
A delicious cake is often the ribbon that beautifully closes a fantastic meal. There’s no better ribbon for a special Mexican meal than a decadent Mexican chocolate cake.
This rich chocolate cake has complex flavors because, besides the chocolate, you also get hints of cinnamon and pepper (yes, hot cayenne pepper). It’s topped with soft and creamy cinnamon buttercream and chocolate sprinkles.
If you can find yourself some authentic Mexican chocolate, that would be better. This recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder for convenience because that kind of chocolate can be tricky to find. Nonetheless, it’s terrific.
5. Mexican Sweet Corn Cake/Pan de Elote
Pan de Elote, or Mexican sweet corn cake, is the lovechild of a cake and cornbread marriage. It’s so rich and buttery, plus, as a scoopable cake, it gives a unique experience!
Sweet corn cake is one of the many things people miss from Chi-chi’s, a once famous Mexican-inspired resto. They also served and popularized Mexican fried ice cream, which I’ve already discussed.
Unlike fried ice cream, this cake is easier and less messy to make. You need salted butter, masa harina or corn flour, water, frozen corn, cornmeal, sugar, heavy cream, baking powder, and salt.
6. Mexican Flan/Flan Mexicano
Growing up (and until now), flans made with an egg and milk mixture are one of my favorite desserts. This dessert has Spanish or Hispanic roots, so countries like Mexico, Latin America, and the Philippines have their variants.
So what makes this dish sweet and creamy? You only need these ingredients: eggs, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, water, sugar, and evaporated milk to achieve the taste and silky smooth texture of flan Mexicano.
You can deviate by making flavored flans or adding some cream cheese and coconut milk. Serve your flan with strawberries or dulce de leche!
7. Mexican Sweet Bread/Conchas
These Mexican sweet bread or conchas are eye candy. They have bright colors that seduce the eyes, and every bite bursts with flavor.
However, this isn’t for those looking for a quick thing. It takes time to make conchas because you have to proof the yeast, make and proof dough, prep the streusel topping, and all that. But the results make all that invested time worth it with the right ingredients and effort.
Because there’s no shortcut to making conchas, you must go all in to make them. Get high-quality ingredients so you get the best-tasting sweet bread.
8. Mexican Wedding Cookies
If you’re fond of shortbread cookies, you’ll adore these Mexican wedding cookies. They’re buttery and nutty, with a crumbly texture that melts on your tongue without falling apart in your hands.
These wedding cookies contain pecan pieces, and you’ll coat them with powdered sugar. This gives them an exciting combination of texture and flavor, especially with the added butter and vanilla.
Although served at many Mexican weddings, you don’t need to get married to enjoy them. You need less than an hour to assemble them, although you do need an hour for them to chill in the fridge.
9. Mexican Sopapilla
Sopapilla, also spelled as sopaipilla, is one of the most delicious traditional Mexican desserts. They’re fried dough served with a choice of powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, honey, or Piloncillo syrup.
These sopapillas look a lot like beignets and are similar in some ways, too. They are both fried dough usually dusted with sugar, but sopapillas tend to be lighter and flakier than beignets.
You only need flour, baking powder, salt, shortening, and hot water to make the sopapillas. Although usually shaped into triangles, you can also mold them into circles or any shape you like.
10. Carlota de Limon/Mexican Lime Icebox Cake
I’m a massive fan of icebox cakes – they’re simple, don’t need ovens, and are perfect for hot days. If you haven’t made yourself one, I urge you to try this recipe for Carlota de Limon or Mexican lime icebox cake.
This is a no-fuss dessert and only needs five ingredients: Mexican limes, condensed milk, evaporated milk, galletas Maria or Maria biscuits, and vanilla extract. You can swap the Mexican limes for key limes since they have similar flavor profiles – sweet, tart, and citrusy.
If you can’t find galletas Maria, you can use soft biscuits like graham crackers or digestive cookies.
11. Mexican Bunuelos
We can’t talk about Mexican food without mentioning bunuelos, also spelled as buñuelo. Like sopapillas, you’ll fry dough and top them with cinnamon sugar. They’re often shaped into flat circles and served during the holidays.
If I have to describe them, they look like crispy pancakes, but they’re different. Unlike pancakes which are a mixture, for bunuelos, you have to make and knead dough from flour, baking powder, salt, oil, and warm water.
It takes less than an hour to make bunuelos. Coat them with the cinnamon sugar mixture immediately, so the particles stick to the treats.
12. Mexican Hot Chocolate
Nothing beats Mexican hot chocolate. They provide a unique experience because of the rich cocoa flavors blended with cinnamon and chili.
Mexicans love their spice so much that they even incorporated chili into their drinks. But we’re grateful for that because it elevates this simple beverage into another dimension. It’s literally the bomb.
To make this drink, you’ll need milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, chili powder, and bittersweet chocolate. You can add some cayenne pepper for a bit more kick and fire.
Serve with marshmallows, chocolate shavings, sea salt, Mexican caramel, or dulce de leche.
12 Traditional Mexican Dessert Recipes
Take your kitchen and loved ones to Mexico with these traditional dessert recipes.
Tres Leches Cake
Mexican Fried Ice Cream
Mexican Rice Pudding/Arroz con Leche
Mexican Chocolate Cake
Mexican Sweet Corn Cake/Pan de Elote
Mexican Flan/Flan Mexicano
Mexican Sweet Bread/Conchas
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Carlota de Limon/Mexican Lime Icebox Cake
Mexican Hot Chocolate
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep a Mexican dessert in 30 minutes or less!